Chinatown Murders Might Be Linked to Prostitution

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Friday was an ugly crime, but that doesn't mean that police aren't making progress There's been a bit of a new twist in Friday's murder case regarding two women found dead in a burning ground-floor apartment in Chinatown. The women, Xia L. Li, 70, and Yong Hua Chen, 36, have been [all over New York news]( stations all weekend, both shot to death and left to burn, but now police believe they are making progress in the case's investigation. The building the two women were found in, 83 Henry Street, a rundown apartment under the Manhattan Bridge, is possibly connected with prostitution, reports the New York Post. It is just one angle detectives think could be cause for the murders, but according to the Post, the site is a "known prostitution location". Unfortunately, according to the New York Times, the building's superintendent, Valentin Dominguez, said he doesn't know who owned the apartment.
The case is in the midst of the NYPD's large efforts to eradicate both prostitution and sex trafficking, and brings to question, as a whole, the problem of prostitution in New York. The NYPD seems to be making giant leaps in its fight against these issues, but what does this specific case represent? For us who do not partake, just how prevalent is prostitution in NY? What is theNYPD doing to eliminate it? After some research, it seems that the problem is on the decline.
The police are doing a lot. Despite an impressive 3,229 prostitution-related arrests last year, a number reported by WNYC(in a [short, informative piece]( by Cindy Rodriguez), the police continue to make new teams and plans to continue to reduce the activity. So far in 2012, the NYPD is kicking butt. On June 19, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced the NYPD's 101st operation under the "Losing Proposition" effort, a new movement, according to [Kelly's release](, "in which potential customers (are) arrested after soliciting undercover officers." According to a June 19 release by the NYPD, in just the past six months police arrested 598 potential prostitution customers, a huge count compared to past numbers. Police made just 98 arrests under the operation in 2011. According to the NYPD's release, the latest operation, held in the 42nd precinct in the Bronx, resulted in the arrest of six potential customers or "Johns" as the release puts it. In partnership with the "Losing Proposition" operation, Commissioner Kelly created a Human Trafficking Squad this year. The squad is part of the NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau. Regarding efforts in Chinatown, police raided a neighborhood building on May 21 and currently seek forfeiture after connecting the building with illegal gambling and sex trafficking, the NY Post said. --Nick Gallinelli

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